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The *belated* Joe Farley Awards 2020/2021 : Congratulations to winners Nivitha Muralikrishna and Grace Shepherd

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Supporting emerging talent is something that we’re very passionate about and have been championing for almost thirty years, so we weren’t going to let a ‘little’ thing like the ongoing pandemic get in the way of our annual award for the first year Production Design students at the National Film and Television School. Some changes to the usual format had to be made of course but we’re very happy to announce that we have been able to award the 2020 and 2021 winners of the Joe Farley Award. Huge congratulations go to the 2021 winner Nivitha Muralikrishna for her interpretations of Erin Morgenstern’s ‘Night Circus’ and the 2020 winner, Grace Shepherd for ‘Invisible Cities’.

A brief history of the awards; https://www.farley.co.uk/about-us/joe-farley-award/

Sadly, we weren’t able to meet with either group of students face to face, hear their presentations and offer feedback as we usually would, but it didn’t dampen spirits and both groups of students presented a very high calibre of work.

For the 2020 graduating class Mark was able to be joined by talented Production Designer and NFTS alumni Paul Kirby https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0456205/  Together they reviewed each and every model, drawing and sketch book before crowning Grace Shepherd their winner.

Grace took inspiration from Venice and China when designing her sets and creating her model which focused on the ‘Thin City’. Her technical drawings were very clear and perfectly illustrated her vision. Mark and Paul were particularly struck by Grace’s achievement of making her set very practically workable, offering endless shooting possibilities. Both were in agreement that Grace will be an asset to all future art departments.

For the 2021 class, Mark Farley scrutinised the student’s portfolios, models and technical drawings with the help of course director Caroline Amies. There were two main contenders at the end of judging, but after much deliberation Nivitha was crowned the winner thanks to her well thought through set which felt ‘complete’, beautiful and fully functional. She successfully managed to marry the practical elements of set design while evoking the books ethereal, dream-like qualities. The Night Circus set was simple yet precise using the gramophone as a starting point, the mechanical clock works and music box carrying the viewer within a well-presented theme.  Excellent technical drawings illustrated the finer details and a musical soundtrack enhanced the magical atmosphere of her gramophone inspired model. A very worthy winner who will no doubt go on to do great things.

A huge thank you to all of the students who took part. Once again reminding us of the abundance of talent just starting their journey in the film industry. We wish them all the very best of luck.

Thank you to Caroline Amies and all of the team at the NFTS.